Everyone is so different.
See the above photograph? When you go out dressed like that on any given day...on a normal day — dressing up for Halloween doesn't seem all that exciting anymore. When I was a kid I used to die my hair, put rings in my nose and ears, dress crazy, go all out of my way to be different. When I got to art school the task of being different for being different's sake was too tall an order, everyone was so freakin' freaky; so I wore logo-less T-Shirts, jeans and sneakers...to stand out. Or maybe I was beginning to get old enough not to care. I don't know.
The funny thing was, one day in orientation a super-gothed out girl with purple hair broke down and started to cry when it was her turn to speak: "Back in high school it was so EASY for me to be different...but here it's so HARD. I mean everyone here is so...different."
Everyone is so different.
OK, I'll admit it, I'm back in school. That's what made me think about this stuff. I see all these kids walking around trying so hard to freak people out, when all they have to do is ride a bike to school, walk into class in full lycra, and act as though nothing is amiss.
Singing The Misfits "Last Caress" while humping a chair is optional (but encouraged).
When people accuse me of wearing lycra for fashion purposes I think they're really, really off base (idiots). It's not usually civilians, but other bike-people who ride street or downhill or BMX, or who ride off road but make a conscious effort NOT to wear lycra. I wear lycra because it doesn't get caught on trees, it keeps me cool, it doesn't snag on my full-height saddle, and because I am too old and over it to care what I'm wearing. It's function; not fashion.
A guy wearing baggies can walk up to a Dairy Queen full of rednecks and not getting horribly beaten with ax handles. Can I do that while wearing lycra? Probably not.
I've gone to the bar, like the full-on frat boy infested bar with my lycra on. We used to have our bike team meetings at a big, dumb bar in Allston. It was only halfway to my house from work, I had another solid 25 or so minutes to ride after the meeting. I could not be bothered to change. Of course the other fifteen or twenty people on the team were dressed appropriately, I was the only one suffering "for fashion."
Let me just interrupt myself to clarify — I am not putting down people who wear baggies, wearing baggies is AWESOME; just don't tell me what's what about what I'm wearing or not wearing and we'll get along just fine. Unless you like The Eagles, then you can go die.
One night at that really cool, aforementioned bar, a woman came up with three sailors in full sailor garb, complete with the funny hats. I would never fight one of those guys. They have got to be super tough to pull off walking around a city in those goofy get ups. The rest of the armed forces get to look bad ass and cool when they're off duty, but sailors...wow, poor bastards...poor TOUGH, really tough bastards (that's still more compliment than denigration isn't it?). OK, one more — bell bottoms...seriously? This woman wanted her photo taken with the three sailors...and me. Maybe she was on a scavenger hunt and had to have her photo taken with the four gayest looking guys in the place. That was not a joke I made at the time. You can tell by the fact that I have all my teeth and can still tie my shoes without the assistance of a live-in nurse.
So yes, I choose to wear lycra not for its functionality but for its fashion appeal (and for the getting called a faggot by drivers part). Wearing an outfit biking that only requires the removal of your helmet and the donning of a flat brimmed hat for you to pass for Jesse James...that's function!
OK, now I'm just being mean.